Should dogs be allowed in pubs? This Nova Scotian brewer thinks do

Ian Lawson, co-owner of Brightwood Brewery: ‘We believe dogs are family members’

People stand with their dogs in front of Brightwood Market in Dartmouth, N.S. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ian Lawson)

A Halifax craft brewer has launched a petition to bring pooches into his pub, saying the province’s regulations are too unfriendly to dogs.

Ian Lawson, co-owner of Brightwood Brewery, says an anonymous complaint led a provincial inspector to order an end to his practice of allowing patrons to bring dogs into his establishment.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview that dogs are valued companions who should be welcome in the taproom, provided they are friendly and under control.

“We believe dogs are family members,” he said in an interview on Monday. “It’s part of the craft brewing culture to be able to sit down and have a pint with your dog.”

Lawson adds he accepts regulations requiring that animals be kept away from food preparation areas for health and safety reasons.

However, his petition is calling on the province’s Environment Department to rewrite regulations that ban animals — other than service animals and aquarium fish — from the entire restaurant premises.

In the case of his pub, food preparation is limited to reheating meat pies and samosas — and the dogs were required to stay out of the area where the dishes were prepared.

Nova Scotia regulations clearly state, ”An operator must not permit any live animal to be in a food establishment,” with the exception of ”a guide animal, if permitting the guide animal to enter does not pose a risk of contaminating the food.”

The craft brewer said he’d like to see the rules changed to give inspectors latitude to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the presence of dogs poses any risk to food safety.

He cites legislation in B.C., which allows exemptions for “any other animal that a health officer determines will not pose a risk of a health hazard occurring on the premises.”

Meribeth Burton, a spokeswoman for the Health Department in B.C., wrote in an email: ”Our legislation does allow for animals in food establishments. However, it is not commonplace in British Columbia.” She said it is ultimately up to health authorities and their inspection teams to make a judgment call.

READ MORE: Boy’s service dog bounced from B.C. trampoline park

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Envirnoment Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawson said dogs had caused no problems since he opened in October 2018, other than a single incident of a dog that was barking and snarling. The owner was asked to leave after he refused to put the dog on a leash.

Since the inspector’s visit two weeks ago, the brew pub has been turning dogs away, fearing the loss of its wider operating licence if it doesn’t comply.

Lawson estimated about 30 people and their dogs have been told they can’t come in since the inspector’s visit, adding that he misses seeing them.

“It brought everyone joy being able to see a happy dog, and give the dog a pat on the head,” he said. “The good possibilities outweigh the bad.”

His petition on change.org had attracted more than 2,000 signatures Monday afternoon.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New wildfire springs up north of Clinton; lightning suspected as cause

Fire is not a flare-up of blaze that started on Aug. 1 near 51 Mile Creek

City of Quesnel plans staggered approach to reopening West Fraser Centre arenas

Ice will be open to youth groups Sept. 14 in Arena 2, and Sept. 21 in the West Fraser Centre Arena

Maple Drive streetlight project to be put to voters this fall

New streetlights would see additional tax for residents, increased safety for pedestrians

Proposed Quesnel interconnector moves beyond preliminary design stage

MOTI to prepare business case for provincial leaders, showing cost and scope of Highway 97 project

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Most Read